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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Bulldogs claim KCAC title at Bethel’s expense

  • When McPherson College’s Bulldogs last won the KCAC football championship, Harry Truman was completing his final term as the 33rd president, gas was 20 cents a gallon, the average person made $3,400 a year and the cost of a brand-new home was about $9,000.


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  • When McPherson College’s Bulldogs last won the KCAC football championship, Harry Truman was completing his final term as the 33rd president, gas was 20 cents a gallon, the average person made $3,400 a year and the cost of a brand-new home was about $9,000.

    Needless to say, it’s been a long time.

    The Bulldogs ended their Sahara Desert-like drought here Saturday, doing what a No. 6-ranked team should do against a winless team, dominating Bethel College 47-0 in the final regular-season home game.

    It gave the Bulldogs their first KCAC title since 1952. But it may not be the last game here.

    Should McPherson College (8-0 in the KCAC and 9-0 overall) defeat intra-county rival Bethany College Saturday at Lindsborg, the Bulldogs most likely would be hosting an NAIA playoff game for the first time in school history on Nov. 20.

    Maybe that’s why the Bulldogs’ celebration was so subdued, as they know even though they earned a share of the KCAC title by routing Bethel, they want the whole enchilada next week — the undisputed title, an undefeated regular season and home playoff game. A Mac loss and an Ottawa win over Friends next week would mean the teams tie for first, though Mac is considered the champion since it won the head-to-head meeting with a 56-24 win over the Braves.

    “It (winning the title) means a lot in the long run, but right now 10-0 has got to be our focus,” said Mac first-year coach Joe Bettasso, who has built on what Brian Ward started, as the Bulldogs are now 18-2 during their last 20 games and two playoff berths. “That’s why you don’t see a lot celebrating or things like that. Bethany is our focus. We want to be back here in two weeks. Down the road this will be very meaningful and very special to these kids.”

    The Bulldogs shattered records left and right in a game that never was in doubt, as it was 26-0 after a quarter and 33-0 at the half. They compiled 631 yards on just 65 plays, nearly 10 yards a snap.

    Quarterback Shane Mascarenas was 20 of 28 for 439 yards and five touchdowns. He broke Greg Mendez’s record for career TD passes (he now has 68) and well as Mendez’s record for career passing yards (now at 6,541).

    Andy Skinner, already the Mac all-time leader in career TD catches, eclipsed Matt Holtry’s single-season yardage record, as his four catches for 97 yards gives him 1,138 yards.

    Skinner was one of four receivers to have a TD catch on the day, as Mascarenas threw a pair to Josh White, and one each to Joe Middleton and Rattanak Muor before retiring after three quarters.

    “We wanted to make sure we got Josh a touchdown and Ratt a touchdown,” Bettasso said of his senior receivers on Senior Day.

    Chris German added a pair of rushing touchdowns, as he filled in for Aaron Lafitte, who didn’t play because of a slight hamstring pull.

    Mac defensive standout Will Powers also was held out for precautionary reasons, as Bettasso wants his team to be healthy going into next week. The Bulldogs right now have several players banged up, as the long season has taken its toll.

    The Mac defense pitched its second shutout of the year, holding Bethel to 247 yards on 70 plays. Quarterback Jason Veil showed a lot of courage, rushing for 92 yards on 20 carries even though he was pounded time and again by a ferocious Mac defense.

    “Defensively we were there,” Bettasso said. “We were doing some stuff that was challenging our guys to think, to prepare them for the rest of the season.”

    Bethel ends the season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Sterling.

    Bethel 0 0 0 0 —0

    McPherson 26 7 14 0 —47

    Scoring

    1q. M White 60-yd. pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick) 12:50

    1q. M German 3-yd. run (kick failed) 8:37

    1q. M Middleton 73-yd. pass from Mascarenas (kick failed) 4:49

    1q, M Skinner 38-yd. pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick) :09

    2q. M White 7-yd. pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick) 2:12

    3q. M German 15-yd. run (Eason kick) 11:50

    3q. M Muor 8-yd. pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick) 3:21

    Team stats

    BC MC

    First downs 18 22

    Rushing-yards 46-178 33-186

    Passing yards 69 445

    Comp-att-int 8-24-0 21-32-1

    Punts-avg. 9-28.9 0-0

    Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-1

    Penalties-yards 5-22 10-90

    Time of poss. 36:20 23:43

    Individual stats

    RUSHING — Bethel: Vail 20-92, Suchsland 11-34, Hiebert 5-32, Stultz 7-13, Jenner 2-13, Berg 1-(-6). McPherson: German 14-85, Hargitt 4-44, Lonberger 7-28, Snodgrass 3-15, Anderson 1-9, Mascarenas 2-8, Griffin 1-0, Payne 1-0.

    PASSING — Bethel: Vail 8-22-0, 69 yards; Hiebert 0-1-0, 0 yards; team 0-1-0, 0 yards. McPherson: Mascarenas 20-28-1 439 yards; Snodgrass 1-4-0, 6 yards.

    RECEIVING — Bethel: McNary 3-31, Stultz 3-9, Berg 1-18, Unruh 1-11. McPherson: Middleton 5-127, Muor 5-88, Skinner 4-97, White 3-73, Robinson 2-25, Lonberger 1-29, Rotering 1-6.

    Missed field goals — MC: Eason 59 (WR).